Best Amusement Park?

e x i t english's avatar

Boardwalk is our very favorite Disney resort, but I'd argue that Swolphin is "best" because it's often 1/3 the price and still provides all the deluxe benefits. They are definitely on par with the Disney properties at Crescent Lake. They wouldn't be if they were priced like Disney properties.

Jeff's avatar

I stayed in Swan in 2015-ish, and it was gross. The carpet in the hallways was dirty to the point of being black and the rooms clearly hadn't been updated in a very long time. Did not impress.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

e x i t english's avatar

Oddly enough, it went through a massive refurb at the end of 2015. We stayed at Swan Reserve last month, and it was really great because it's brand new - then our flight got canceled, and we had to book an impromptu room for the night. Reserve was sold out, but Swan had a room, so we snagged it.

There's things I liked about it more than Reserve, but the building materials/windows and shower fixtures were definitely high(ish)-end-for-1990 vs. high(ish)-end-for-2021. They did an excellent job with the update on the carpets, wall coverings, etc.. and we really enjoyed it. I will say that the bed at Swan was more comfortable than the bed at Reserve, but the wall/door thickness in the rooms and hallways, and the way noise carries in Swan Reserve makes it way more quiet.

I feel like the Swan/Dolphin moreso than any other of the WDW resorts has been coasting hard on its initial reputation, even as it's clearly been showing its age. Think we already talked about the useful life of building materials and fixtures in one of the Hotel Breakers threads, but it also feels like stuff that was new and shiny in the 90s has aged extra hard. Like, a lot of the faux marble and stucco and vaguely Tuscan-inspired materials have held up about as badly as cheaply done mid-century stone and woodwork.

Apparently rough day for CP last Friday. Although the temp was very warm there was just enough wind to shut down many of the coasters for large parts of the day. I teach at a high school and my senior class took two busses up there for the day. I asked many of them how it was since I am a big CP fan and every single student was disappointed. Seems like 3 rides was the best they could do for the entire day and they arrived before opening and left the park at 8:30 pm. More frustrating was how many hours spent waiting in line for rides they did NOT even ride. Some of them kept track of their waiting time in line and one group says they waited for at least 6 hours for rides that they did NOT ride. They waited for over 3 hours for Maverick and it shut down when they were on the platform. Nothing was offered to them and no one knew if it was coming back up so they left. I asked if anybody went on Steel Vengeance and no one I talked to did. Another student said their day consisted of 3 rides, $9 small yogurt and $16 dry chicken tenders. I'm posting this not to bash CP and I know this is just one day in the season but for many of these kids it was their first visit and everyone I talked to left with a bad impression of the place. Certainly not my impression but they are certainly not ranking CP as one of the best parks in the country and may not come back for future visits now. Future rides need to be more weather and wind resistant I would say and/or some more indoor options.

Master D said:


Thank sucks....but you can't control mother nature she always wins!!

djDaemon's avatar

Master D said:

...one group says they waited for at least 6 hours for rides that they did NOT ride.

They waited for over 3 hours for Maverick and it shut down...

Another student said their day consisted of 3 rides...

Just imagine how many rides they could have gotten on Matterhorn, MaXair, Monster, Ocean Motion, Power Tower, Scrambler, Skyhawk, Super Himalaya, Tiki Twirl, Troika, and others if someone, I dunno, perhaps a teacher who knows a bit about the park, had clued them in on what to do if the weather was uncooperative for their once-in-a-lifetime senior trip to the park during the spring season when inclement weather is pretty common. Alas, no such advice was given, which sucks for them.

...everyone I talked to left with a bad impression of the place. Certainly not my impression but they are certainly not ranking CP as one of the best parks in the country and may not come back for future visits now.

Oh no! Anything but the high schooler demographic! The park is doomed!!! ;-)

But seriously, if there are any other teachers around here with kids heading to the park this time of year, do them a favor and, rather than be a sounding board for their ill-placed complaints after a less-than-ideal trip, be proactive and tell them ahead of time that they may not get lucky with the weather, and equip them with strategies to make the most of their day in the event that's what they're faced with. It's an important life lesson in being prepared and rolling with what life throws your way.


Brandon

BlueGemini said:

Master D said:


...but you can't control mother nature she always wins!!

Right. But Cedar Point can control the conditions they choose to operate (or not operate) their rides and as of late there are plenty of times where there is absolutely no reason for the park to choose to close coasters for weather, be it wind or rain, but they do anyway. The overly cautious and conservative nature of the current weather closure policies for rides in relation to the actual severity of the weather is one that would cause me to take pause in spending a significant amount of money on a trip to the park. Especially knowing other parks (even in the Cedar Fair chain) take a much more realistic approach to allowing coasters to operate in rain/mild wind conditions.

I also know a well known member of this site (I won't mention names, but feel free to pipe in) was at the park on Friday and had a similar experience to the students mentioned by Master D.

To echo the point made by Cartwright, I happened to be at Kings Island on the same day and it was pretty darn windy there as well, but everything, including Orion, Diamondback, Mystic Timbers, the Beast, Racer, etc were open. I think the Drop Tower was down and I'm sure Windseeker was down, but beyond that, it was all systems go - and this is a park in the same chain. No it's not on a lake, but there is literally almost no circumstance where both Magnum and Raptor should be closed for winds at the same time. If the winds are off the bay, it's cold, and the wind is above 20 or so, I'd expect Raptor to be closed, but not Magnum. If the winds are out of the north, it's cold, and the Winds are above 25 or so, I'd expect Magnum to maybe be closed. On an 85 degree day, if I was in charge, I'd take a chance on both of them being just fine. Steel Vengeance and Maverick would probably be pretty much immune to Wind on an 85 degree day. At least some of them should have been open. CP didn't do well by their guests on May 20.

I know a lot of people used to say "leave these decisions to the experts." But at this point, I'm sort of convinced that the community of past employees, long time guests, etc actually do know better than the people in charge. CP's weather policies need an intervention from someone...

Last edited by MDOmnis,

-Matt

Not to mention when a literal 30-45 second "sun shower" closes every coaster for an hour.

Well, there WAS a coaster that was able to operate in those kind of conditions, but it’s no longer there…

I have to admit that I am perplexed by Cedar Point's rain policy. Maybe someone else can chime in, but can't it be traced back to the incident on Magnum where a train overshot the brakes at the end of the tunnel and bumped the train sitting outside the station? If memory serves me, this was due to a combination of a mechanical brake failure combined with reduced stopping power from the rain.

From my understanding of this incident, I can say that Magnum shouldn't run all three trains in a steady rain. However, I don't see any need to go to one train in the rain. In two train operation, I don't see any way that a train could overshoot both the end of tunnel brakes AND the holding brakes in front of the station. With a new computer system, I would think that it would be easy to program two train operation to require a train to be parked in the station before the other clears the lift hill.

The thing is, it's not just Magnum. All coasters will immediately close, and if the rain is lingering they'll eventually go to one train. Like you said, I get modern safety requirements wanting old Arrow fin brakes to potentially not have to hard stop a train in a steady rain. But for a ride like Steel Vengeance (or heck, even the 90s B&Ms) to immediately close or go to one train for any rain, it's just silly, unnecessary, and poor guest service.

djDaemon's avatar

MDOmnis said:

...I happened to be at Kings Island on the same day and it was pretty darn windy there as well...

Winds on Friday were between 5-9 MPH in Mason, and between 13-24 MPH in Sandusky, so not a remotely reasonable comparison.

But at this point, I'm sort of convinced that the community of past employees, long time guests, etc actually do know better than the people in charge. CP's weather policies need an intervention from someone...

Wasn't it opening day where the weather was downright awful throughout the first 10 hours of the day, and the park still went through the trouble of opening several coasters in, quite literally, the eleventh hour? That, to me, indicates the park is making a concerted effort to keep rides open as much as possible.


Brandon

jimmyburke's avatar

Just speculation, but I imagine these decisions are mapped out in a manual that is strictly adhered to by Park Operations. The manual lists strict criteria for procedures covering every potential weather/emergency situation. They are under strict authority to follow these procedures to the nth degree. And, similar to health care decisions, these procedures are dictated by: Insurance Companies.

djDaemon said:

...Matterhorn, MaXair, Monster, Ocean Motion, Power Tower, Scrambler, Skyhawk, Super Himalaya, Tiki Twirl, Troika...for their once-in-a-lifetime senior trip to the park...

I would imagine that to a lot of high schoolers those rides would make for a less than exciting trip, even if they were advised before hand that that was all they could ride.

I agree that making lemonade out of lemons is a great way to handle things, but put yourself in the shoes of a high schooler whose teacher tells you prior to the trip that your day is going to be spent riding the scrambler. I would guess that you would have a bit of a sour taste in your mouth after drinking that lemonade all day at the park.

djDaemon's avatar

More so than if you wasted your entire day waiting in lines for rides that never opened?


Brandon

jimmyburke said:

Just speculation, but I imagine these decisions are mapped out in a manual that is strictly adhered to by Park Operations.

If it was consistent throughout the entire Cedar Fair chain I'd actually understand the Cedar Point policy. But the fact that it's exclusive to CP is just... strange.

Jeff's avatar

MDOmnis said:

I also know a well known member of this site (I won't mention names, but feel free to pipe in) was at the park on Friday and had a similar experience to the students mentioned by Master D.

I assume you mean me. 😁 Yeah, Friday was a disaster, I don't care what anyone thinks or how they can justify it. I mean epic train wreck. I'm not exactly a marathon rider or whatever, but what went down that day was completely unacceptable, and not great feels for someone making his first trip from Florida in six years. You have to do some mental gymnastics to explain how Steel Vengeance is down for weather with no rain and wind in the teens. And that's just one thing. I'll give the park Raptor, as the wind was off the bay, and we've seen that valley a bunch of times, but the rest? No, I've been on Magnum with two other people in a downpour, high winds and more employees than guests in the park.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

I was not a chaperone this year for the trip but I did try to help some of the kids out beforehand with a plan. I looked at the weather and it was going to be 85 degrees, minimal to no rain chances with wind around 10-12 mph with gusts a bit higher. I knew that the gust speed was borderline but thought they would be ok. So we talked about them going directly to back of park and getting on SV and Maverick. I explained how SV was considered one of the best coasters in the world in many peoples opinion. Most of these kids had no idea of the coasters there. Anyhow, I was wrong. The winds apparently were a bigger problem than I figured and pretty much killed the day for getting on a number of coasters. Funny story about making lemonade out of lemons: One group said forget all these lines and went over to the beach and went swimming (no towels, no swim trunks), had a good time, but missed the mid-day check in with chaperones. Understandably the teachers were worried and then upset when they found out what they did. On Monday in school the principal met with these students and gave them 2 days "lunch" detention. Which is just these group of boys eating lunch away from cafeteria together in a room for 2 days. Not much of a punishment and I told them the memory they made was well worth it.

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